That’s how the last few weeks have gone by. In a flash!
You may have noticed, I have been MIA for the past 2 weeks. My father-in-law passed away and we traveled back to the mainland for the funeral and to be with family.
Not only did this time fly by, it was also a roller coaster of emotions.
Happy. Sad. Lost. Loved. Hurt. Proud. Warm (well not physically but emotionally my heart was warm! Texas was much cooler than Hawaii!)
With 23+ years of service, my father-in-law was Retired from the Air Force. Having his funeral on Veterans Day week was very emotional in and of itself. It almost felt as if the whole country was mourning our loss as well. Everywhere we looked, there were flags hung high. And, we even got treated to some free Veterans Day coffee (which you KNOW gave me a reason to smile! ha) It was a beautiful service and I feel it really captured the man that he was and served as a wonderful tribute to him.
My husband asked his dad to wear his Air Force uniform to his Chief Pinning Ceremony back in 2007. It was so special to Steven for his dad to do this for him.
Steven returned the favor and wore his Navy Dress blues in his fathers honor at the funeral which put tears to my eyes (and many others). Having him by my side while he stood at attention to his father tugged at my heart in a way I’ve never experienced.
I’ve only seen my husband cry once or twice in the 10 years I’ve known him. Through this whole experience of cancer diagnosis until the funeral, he remained pretty quiet about it all. He’s not one to share his emotions openly (yep-hard to believe MY husband wouldn’t be one to share openly. I think I do enough for the both of us!) However, at the end of the burial I watched him walk up to the lowered casket. He knelt down and began sobbing. Sobbing! His brother and I then joined in.
It’s a moment I will never forget.
The emotions just came pouring out. At that moment, I knew we would be okay because we finally let it all out. We were surrounded by family who we shared the same emotions with and were able to draw strength and comfort from one another. Up until then, I was an ocean apart from that comfort which was really hard. I spoke about that in my last post: Loss: A Tribute to My Father In-Law. I relied on my faith which is what got me through this emotional season. God gave me the strength I needed. Where would I have been without God’s strength?
Eventually, we returned to Hawaii. Back to “normal.” Back to the place that brings me peace. Hawaii is said to be healing and I couldn’t agree more!
I’ve spent the last week trying to go about my “busy mom” life while I was still adjusting to these new feelings Steve’s death made present in my life. I have a new outlook on life thanks to him!
I’ve always said I wanted to “live like there’s no tomorrow.” In fact, I have a workout tank that says that! But, until you witness death up close, I feel those words are just simply words. Having gone through this experience, I have an even higher value placed on life. And, I don’t just mean the adventures I share with y’all through this blog. I think we all have a sort of “bucket list” of things we’d like to do or places we’d like to travel to. This was always the focus of my “live like there’s no tomorrow” life-to experience all there is to experience!
My father-in-laws death has made me dig deeper into that saying. It’s reminded me to place more value in the relationships I have. Life is about relationships. I received so much comfort from those in my family. I think part of “living like there’s no tomorrow,” means nurturing those relationships we care most about.
So, in “living like there’s no tomorrow,” I am going to do better about making those phone calls to friends and family far away. I’m going to do more than just “like” my friends’ Facebook pictures. I’m going to take that time to comment more like I already do to you-my bloggers.
In my effort to focus more on the relationships around me, I had 2 different coffee dates in my home this week with my girlfriends. It was simply time for us to get together and talk. No distractions. No agenda. Just time together. I did the same with a long phone call to my step-mom where we just chatted. I also gathered up and got ready to mail pictures to my grandparents and immediate family. (If you’re reading this family, act surprised when they come! ha) I also reached out to my mother-in-law. Next up, grandma!
Being a military family, I’ve tended to seek out the “surface” friendships because I know they are temporary to that duty station.
It’s hard to open up and be vulnerable to someone you know will only be in your life for a short season.
I have gained some “forever” friends at each duty station. But, the majority of them are for a season. I’m okay with that. That’s normal for military life.
However, after this particular change of perspective gifted to me by my father-in-law, I’m going to change this mindset a little. We have about a year left here in Hawaii (maybe a little longer). One of the best friends I have ever had is moving back to the mainland in a few weeks. We’ve only known each other 2 years. I KNOW we are forever friends even in that short period of time. It shows it’s possible. It’s going to break my heart when she leaves, but I don’t know how I would’ve survived these past 2 years of constant deployments without her by my side. I’m going to open my heart up a bit more to the possibility of having more “forever” friends like her within our last year here and I’m going to try to be that person for someone else too! Relationships are worth it!
I thank God daily for the strength He has given me to overcome various obstacles. His everlasting love was proven yet again through the death of my father-in-law.
Through Him, I have found the strength it takes to move past the hurt and pain and to do what I always strive to do-find the best in even the hardest of situations. I can feel Gods presence as He’s telling me to use this experience to better my life and those around me. It’s drawn me closer to Him and He’s telling me to use it to draw closer to my friends and family as well.
Thank you all for your kind words and for understanding my need to take a short break from blogging. I am back. I’m ready to continue on! As always, thank you for your continuous support!
With Love and Aloha,
Daily Word Prompt: Particular